Baldini leaves lasting legacy

The city of Marquette — and, really, the entire community — was handed a blow earlier this week when word came of the unexpected death of Marquette Mayor Tom Baldini.

Baldini passed away Tuesday after suffering a stroke over the weekend.

Baldini was elected mayor in November after serving as mayor pro tem. He also was elected to the Marquette City Commission in 2014 for a three-year term.

However, he was much more than a city official as his many friends and colleagues will tell you. In fact, former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard called him a “walking advocate and ambassador” for the Upper Peninsula.

Baldini taught government and economics at Marquette Senior High School from 1965-83, later becoming assistant to the superintendent for finances and personnel.

Former President Bill Clinton nominated Baldini to be U.S. chair of the International Joint Commission for Canada and the United States, whose duties entailed managing all the waters shared between the two countries.

In fact, Baldini’s accomplishments are too numerous to include in this small space, but they range from being district director for former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, 1st Congressional District of Michigan, to serving as the U.S. representative of the U.S. and Canadian Boundary Commission.

At the time of his death, he was a part-time instructor in the Political Science Department at Northern Michigan University and a member of the Michigan Technological University Board of Control.

Baldini also was active with the Economic Club of Marquette County, recently serving as program chair.

Many people would have been long retired at age 74, which was Baldini’s age. It appeared, though, he still had too much to achieve.

For a person obviously as interested and committed to the community as Baldini, there was much work to be done. So, his untimely passing leaves a huge void in the Marquette community.

However, his service can serve as an example to everyone. As U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, put it, Baldini’s legacy is a “lasting reminder to all of us of what it means to serve.”

To be a true public servant, that person has to be committed to the betterment of the community, regardless of pay or recognition. The accomplishments matter the most, and Baldini’s impact — from teaching a high schooler to serving on an international commission — will be felt long after his death.

We salute Baldini’s dedication and commitment, and hope others follow in his footsteps. That’s surely what he would have wanted.